Black employment, segregation, and the social organization of metropolitan labor markets

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This broad analysis of the employment of blacks in metropolitan areas examines the role of residential segregation in comparison with four other key structural explanations for racial metropolitan inequality: industrial composition, minority concentration, immigration, and the racial disparity in skills. The goal of the analysis was to determine whether the spatial configuration of blacks relative to whites in a metropolitan area influences the employment rates of black men and black women in the context of the structural conditions of the local labor market. The study expanded the analysis of space and work beyond an emphasis on the physical distance between black communities and jobs to a broader conceptualization of residential segregation as a structural feature of the entire metropolitan labor market that is representative of its social organization with regard to race. Using a longitudinal data set of the structural characteristics of the 95 largest U.S. cities from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 decennial censuses, the study used a cross-sectional analysis of the cities in 2000 and a fixed-effects analysis to assess the impact of five dimensions of residential segregation and the four other structural factors on the employment of blacks across different labor markets and across time within each labor market. The results revealed that when the other structural characteristics are controlled, the employment rates of blacks are lower in more segregated cries and decrease as cities become more segregated over time. The clustering and evenness dimensions of residential segregation were the most determinative of black employment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-307
Number of pages25
JournalEconomic Geography
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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